Home - VIS Vatican - Receive VIS - Contact us - Calendar

The Vatican Information Service is a news service, founded in the Holy See Press Office, that provides information about the Magisterium and the pastoral activities of the Holy Father and the Roman Curia...[]

Last 5 news

VISnews in Twitter Go to YouTube

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


Vatican City, 12 February 2013 (VIS) – Wednesday, 13 February at 5:00pm, the Holy Father will celebrate the rite of blessing and imposition of ashes in the Vatican Basilica, instead of the Roman Basilica of Santa Sabina, where the celebration is traditionally held. The reason, as Fr. Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See Press Office, explained, is that, as this will be Benedict XVI's last public concelebration, a large number of participants is expected.

For the same reason, the Pope's annual meeting with the pastors of Rome, scheduled to take place on 14 February, will take place in the Paul VI Hall and will focus on―according to Fr. Lombardi's information―Vatican Council II, as the Roman clergy requested. Also, in expectation of great numbers, Benedict XVI's last general audience, scheduled for 27 February in the Paul VI Hall, will probably be moved to St. Peter's Square.

"The Pope is well," Fr. Lombardi said, "and his soul is serene. He did not resign the pontificate because he is ill but because of the fragility that comes with old age," he affirmed, recalling that the pontiff, recently underwent an entirely routine procedure to replace the battery of the pacemaker he wears, but that this had no impact on his decision. Likewise, Fr. Lombardi explained, the trip to Cuba and Mexico, due to his fatigue, was another reason in the development of Benedict XVI's decision, but not its cause.

The director of the Press Office confirmed that the Pope's calendar will continue as scheduled until 28 February, the last day of his pontificate, with ad limina visits from the Italian bishops, visits with the presidents of Romania and Guatemala, etc. However, the expected encyclical on Faith will not be published because the text still is not ready.


Vatican City, 12 February 2013 (VIS) - Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, archbishop of Krakow, Poland, after begin informed of Benedict XVI's resignation yesterday, made the following declaration in Krakow.

"With great respect and emotion I accept the Holy Father Benedict XVI's decision to resign from the governance of the Church and to entrust the care of Her future events to the College of Cardinals. I understand the reasons that the Holy Father presented to the members of the consistory. After John Paul II's death, Benedict XVI has guided Christ's Church with great reflection and wisdom, which come from his exceptional intellectual ability as well as his deep faith. I thank the Holy Father for all his efforts to renew the Church in the spirit of fidelity to the Teacher of Nazareth. As one of the bishops of Poland, I assure him of our gratitude for his friendship with John Paul II, for his beatification, and also for his exceptional benevolence toward the Polish nation. Personally, I will always be faithful and grateful for everything that I have received from him. The Church in Krakow will be eternally appreciative to the Peter of our time, Benedict XVI. Gratitude and fidelity. We will remain united in prayer and dedication, together with the Holy Father. I entrust Benedict XVI to the Holy Spirit and to Our Lady of Lourdes, the patroness of the day."


Vatican City, 11 February 2013 (VIS) – This morning at 11:00am in the Consistory Hall of the Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father presided over an ordinary public consistory for the canonization of the blesseds:

- Antonio Primaldo and Companions, martyrs, (1480);
- Laura di Santa Caterina da Siena Montoya y Upegui (1874 -1949), virgin, foundress of the Congregation of the Missionaries of Mary Immaculate and St Catherine of Siena; and
- Maria Guadalupe Garcia Zavala, co-foundress of the Congregation of the Handmaids of St Margaret Mary (Alacoque) and the Poor.

During the course of the consistory, the Pope decreed that blesseds Antonio Primaldo and his companions, Laura di Santa Caterina da Siena Montoya y Upegui and Maria Guadalupe Garcia Zavala be inscribed in the book of saints on Sunday, 12 May 2013.


Vatican City, 10 February 2013 (VIS) – As is customary on Sundays, Benedict XVI appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square.

The Pope commented on the Gospel of St. Luke that narrates the call of the first disciples, a call "preceded by Jesus' teaching to the multitude and by a miraculous catch of fish." While the crowd gathered on the shore of Lake Gennesaret to listen to Him, Jesus―seeing Simon disheartened because he hadn't caught anything the whole night―asks if He can board his boat to preach to the people a little way from the shore. Once finished preaching, Christ orders Simon to go out to sea with his companions and to cast their nets. Simon obeys and the nets are filled with an incredible amount of fish. "The Gospel writer shows that the first disciples followed Jesus, trusting in Him, acting on His Word, while accompanied by prodigious signs. … This is the pedagogy of God's call, which doesn't look as much at the quality of the chosen as at their faith, as in Simon's case.

"The image of the catch," the Pope emphasized, "recalls the Church's mission … Peter's experience, certainly unique, is also representative of the call of each Apostle in the Gospel, who should never lose heart in proclaiming Christ to all people, even to the ends of the earth. today's text also brings us to reflect on the vocation to the priesthood and to consecrated life. This is God's work. Human beings are not the authors of their own vocation, but respond to a divine call. Human weakness should not lead us to fear God's call. It is necessary to be confident in His strength, which acts precisely in our weakness. We must trust ever more in the power of His mercy, which transforms and renews us."

"May this Word of God also reignite in us and in our Christian communities the courage, confidence, and enthusiasm to announce and witness to the Gospel. Challenges and difficulties don't dishearten us: it falls to us to cast our nets with faith. The Lord will do the rest," concluded the Holy Father.

After praying the Angelus, Benedict XVI noted that many Asian countries are celebrating the Lunar New Year. Peace, harmony, and thanksgiving to heaven," he observed, "are the universal values that are celebrated in this happy circumstance, and they are wished for by all so as to build their family, society, and their nation upon them. I wish for those peoples the fulfilment of their aspirations for a happy and prosperous life. I send a special greeting to the Catholics of those countries that, in this Year of Faith, they may be guided by Christ's wisdom.

Lastly, he spoke of the World Day of the Sick, which will be celebrated tomorrow, 11 February, on the liturgical feastday of Our Lady of Lourdes. "The solemn ceremony," he said, "will take place in the Marian Shrine in Altotting, Bavaria, Germany. I am near to all the ill in prayer and affection and I spiritually join with those gathered in that sanctuary that I love so much."


Vatican City, 11 February 2013 (VIS) – Yesterday afternoon at 6:15pm, the Holy Father visited the Major Roman Seminary on the eve of its feast of its patroness, Our Lady of Trust. On arriving he was greeted by Cardinal Agostino Vallini and the rector, Fr. Concetto Occhipinti. Benedict XVI delivered a lectio divina on the First Letter of St. Peter to seminarians of the Major and Minor Roman Seminary, the "Almo Collegio Capranica", the "Redemptoris Mater" diocesan seminary, and the Virgin of Divine Love Seminary. Following are ample excerpts of his address, which was given without an official text.

"Peter speaks. This is almost the first encyclical by which the first apostle, vicar of Christ, speaks to the Church of all time. … He doesn't write as an isolated individual, but with the help of the Church, of the persons who help him to go more deeply into his faith, to enter into the depth of his thought. … This is very important: Peter doesn't speak as an individual, but 'ex persona Ecclesiae'. He speaks as a man of the Church, certainly as a person, with personal responsibility, but also as a person who speaks on behalf of the Church … in communion with the Church."

I believe that it is also important that at the end of the letter he names Silvanus and Mark, two people who belonged to the group of St. Paul’s friends. Thus, the worlds of St. Peter and St. Paul come together; it is not an exclusively Petrine theology as opposed to a Pauline theology. Rather, it is a theology of the Church, of the faith of the Church, in which there is of course a diversity of temperament, of thought, of style. It is good that there are differences—different charisms, different temperaments—then as well as now. These differences do not divide but are united in the same faith.”

St. Peter writes from Rome. This is important: here we already have the Bishop of Rome, the beginning of the succession, the basis of the concrete primacy located in Rome, not only given by the Lord but also placed in this city, capital of the world. Ever since his flight from Herod’s prison, Peter entrusted the Judeo-Christian church, the church of Jerusalem, to James and, in entrusting it to James, remained without qualification primate of the universal Church, primate of the Church of the pagans as well as primate of the Judeo-Christian Church … In Rome he met both parts of the Church: the Judeo-Christian and the Pagan-Christian united, an expression of the universal Church. And Peter was not alone in thinking of this movement: Jerusalem/Rome, Judeo-Christian Church/Universal Church. St. Paul knew that his end would be martyrdom, would be the cross. Therefore, to go to Rome was without doubt to go to martyrdom. The primacy has this universal component and also a martyriological component. The cross can take many different forms, but one cannot be Christian without following the Crucified, without accepting also the martyriological moment.”

St. Peter called those to whom he wrote 'the chosen ones who are dispersed aliens'. Once again we have the paradox of glory and the cross: chosen but dispersed and strangers. We are chosen: God knows us always, since before we were born. God wanted me, as Christian, as Catholic, as priest … he chose me, he loved me, and now I respond. But to rejoice because God has chosen us is not triumphalism but gratitude, and I think that we have to learn this joy. Without doubt, 'chosen ones' needs to be accompanied by strangers and dispersed ones. As Christians, we are dispersed and we are strangers. We see that today Christians in the world today are the most persecuted group because they do not conform, because they go against the tendencies toward egoism and materialism.”

Certainly Christians are not only strangers; we are also Christian nations, we feel proud to have contributed to the formation of culture. There is a healthy patriotism, a healthy joy in belonging to a nation that has a great history of culture and faith. However, without doubt, as Christians we are always strangers; this is the destiny of Abraham, as it is described in the Letter to the Hebrews. Today, as Christians we are each time more strangers than before. In the workforce, Christians are a minority and encounter a situation of alienation. It is remarkable that today one can still believe and live in this way. It is part of our life: it is the way of being with Christ Crucified, being strangers, who do not live the way everyone else lives. We live—or at least we try to live—according to his Word, in a great diversity, respectful of what everyone says. This is characteristic of Christians.”

"Finally we arrive at today’s three verses. I would only like to point out three words: regenerated, inheritance, and safeguarded by faith. Regenerated: this does not only refer to the area of the will; it refers to the whole sphere of being. It does not depend only on my will; it is an act of God … I am reborn. I am transformed, renewed. Being reborn, being regenerated indicates that I become part of a new family: God, My Father; the Church, my Mother; and other Christians, my brothers and sisters.”

"The second word: Inheritance. We are heirs, but not heirs of specific country but of the land of God, of the future of God. This word says that as Christians we have the future. Thus, as Christians, we know that ours is the future, and the tree of the Church is not a dying tree but a tree that grows ever new. Therefore, we have reason to not let ourselves be moved by the prophets of doom, as John XXIII said, who say that the Church is a tree grown from a mustard seed, which has lived two thousand years but now her time is past and the time to die has arrived. No. The church always renews itself; it is continually reborn. The future is ours. Of course, there is a false optimism and a false pessimism. A false pessimism says that the time of Christianity has come to an end. No: it begins again! A false optimism was that witnessed immediately after the Council when convents and seminaries were closed and people said: it doesn’t matter, everything is good. No: this is not good! There are also serious and grave dangers. We have to recognize with a healthy realism that all is not well. It is not good when they do wrong things. At the same time, we have to be sure that even though here and there the Church dies for the sins of humans, because of their lack of belief, at the same time, it is reborn."

"Finally, 'safeguarded by faith'. Faith is like the 'sentinel' that preserves the integrity of my being. We have to be grateful for this vigilance of faith that protects us, that helps us, that guides us, and that gives us safety. God will not let us fall from his hands."


Vatican City, 9 February 2013 (VIS) – Members of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, whose Grand Master is Fra' Matthew Festing, have come to Rome on pilgrimage to celebrate the ninth centenary of the "Pie postulatio volutatis" privilege of February 15, 1113, by which Pope Paschal II placed the newly created "hospitaller fraternity” of Jerusalem, dedicated to Saint John the Baptist, under Church protection, giving it sovereign status and constituting it as an Order in church law, with the faculty freely to elect its superiors without interference from other lay or religious authorities. This morning, Benedict XVI welcomed them to St. Peter's Basilica, thanking the Order for their offering, which will be destined to a work of charity. He also thanked Cardinal Paolo Sardi, patron of the Order, "for the care with which he strives to strengthen the special bond that joins you to the Catholic Church and most particularly to the Holy See".

"This important event," the Pope explained, "takes on a special meaning in the context of the Year of Faith, during which the Church is called to renew the joy and the commitment of believing in Jesus Christ, the one Saviour of the world. In this regard, you too are called to welcome this time of grace, so as to deepen your knowledge of the Lord and to cause the truth and beauty of the faith to shine forth, through the witness of your lives and your service, in this present time. Your Order, from its earliest days, has been marked by fidelity to the Church and to the Successor of Peter, and also for its unrenounceable spiritual identity, characterized by high religious ideals. Continue to walk along this path, bearing concrete witness to the transforming power of faith. …"

"By faith, down the centuries, the members of your Order have given themselves completely, firstly in the care of the sick in Jerusalem and then in aid to pilgrims in the Holy Land who were exposed to grave dangers: their lives have added radiant pages to the annals of Christian charity and protection of Christianity. In the nineteenth century, the Order opened up to new and more ample forms of apostolate in the area of charitable assistance and service of the sick and the poor, but without ever abandoning the original ideals, especially that of the intense spiritual life of individual members. In this sense, your commitment must continue with a very particular attention to the religious consecration of the professed members―which constitutes the heart of the Order."

"In this sense," the Pope emphasized, "your Order, compared with other organizations that are committed in the international arena to the care of the sick, to solidarity and to human promotion, is distinguished by the Christian inspiration that must constantly direct the social engagement of its members. Be sure to preserve and cultivate this your qualifying characteristic and work with renewed apostolic ardour, maintaining an attitude of profound harmony with the Magisterium of the Church. Your esteemed and beneficent activity, carried out in a variety of fields and in different parts of the world, and particularly focused on care of the sick through hospitals and health-care institutes, is not mere philanthropy, but an effective expression and a living testimony of evangelical love. …"

"In Sacred Scripture, the summons to love of neighbour is tied to the commandment to love God with all our heart, all our soul and all our strength. Thus, love of neighbourif based on a true love for God―corresponds to the commandment and the example of Christ. ... In order to offer love to our brothers and sisters, we must be afire with it from the furnace of divine charity: through prayer, constant listening to the word of God, and a life centred on the Eucharist."

The Pope concluded his address by inviting the members of the Order of Malta to "continue working in society and in the world along the elevated paths indicated by the Gospel―faith and charity, for the renewal of hope. Faith, as testimony of adherence to Christ and of commitment to the Gospel mission, which inspires you to an ever more vital presence in the ecclesial community and to an ever more conscious membership of the people of God; charity, as an expression of fraternity in Christ, through works of mercy for the sick, the poor, those in need of love, comfort and assistance, those who are afflicted by loneliness, by a sense of bewilderment and by new material and spiritual forms of poverty. These ideals are aptly expressed in your motto: “Tuitio fidei et obsequium pauperum”. These words summarize well the charism of your Order which, as a subject of international law, aims not to exercise power and influence of a worldly character, but in complete freedom to accomplish its own mission for the integral good of man, spirit and body, both individually and collectively, with special regard to those whose need of hope and love is greater.


Vatican City, 9 February 2013 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in separate audiences:

ten prelates from the Lazio region of the Italian Episcopal Conference on their "ad limina" visit:
- Archbishop Fabio Bernardo D’Onorio, O.S.B., of Gaeta,
- Bishop Delio Lucarelli of Rieti,
- Bishop Giuseppe Petrocchi of Latina-Terracina-Sezze-Priverno,
- Bishop Lino Fumagalli of Viterbo,
- Bishop Lorenzo Loppa of Anagni-Alatri,
- Bishop Romano Rossi of Civita Castellana,
- Bishop Ambrogio Spreafico of Frosinone-Veroli-Ferentino,
- Bishop Luigi Marrucci of Civitavecchia-Tarquinia,
- Bishop-elect Gerardo Antonazzo of Sora-Aquino-Pontecorvo,
- Abbot Pietro Vittorelli, O.S.B., of the territorial Abbey of Montecassino, and

Cardinal Marc Ouellet, P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.


Vatican City, 11 February 2013 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father appointed Msgr. Robert J. Coyle as as military ordinary for the United States of America, assigning him the titular see of Zabi. The bishop-elect was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1964 and was ordained a priest in 1991. He has served in several pastoral roles, currently as pastor of Corpus Christi Parish in Mineola, New York. He was a military chaplain from 1991 to 1999, when he was named to Corpus Christi Parish, but has remained a reservist chaplain and has achieved the level of commander.

On Saturday, 9 February, the Holy Father appointed:

- Fr. Domingo Buezo Leiva as bishop of the apostolic vicariate of Izabal (area 9,038, population 413,339, Catholics 175,000, priests 30, permanent deacons 3, religious 45), Guatemala, assigning him the titular see of Dardano. The bishop-elect was born in Zulia, Guatemala in 1962 and was ordained a priest in 1988. Bishop-elect Buezo Leiva has served as pastor of several parishes in Guatemala, currently San Juan Bautista in Camotan in the diocese of Zacapa, and, since 1998 has served as episcopal vicar for Pastoral Care of that same diocese.

- Msgr. Leonardo Sapienza, S.C.I., regent of the Prefecture of the Pontifical Household, to the College of Apostolic Protonotaries "de numero participantium".


Vatican City, 12 February 2013 (VIS) – The Vatican Information Service begs the pardon of its readers for the errors that may have appeared in yesterday's transmission, due to technical problems caused by the overload of the Vatican servers.

Copyright © VIS - Vatican Information Service